President Obama is set to unveil final rules Tuesday that for the first time set fuel efficiency and carbon emission standards for a wide range of commercial trucks and buses.
The White House said the rules “will dramatically reduce oil consumption and cut pollution,” and that the president will announce them during a visit to Interstate Moving Services in Springfield, Va.
That follows initial rules unveiled last autumn by the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, which were widely seen by industry groups as setting standards that can produce huge savings in fuel costs.
They set an aggressive implementation schedule of starting to take effect in the 2014 model year, and covered everything from long-haul tractors to pickup and delivery vans.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last year said the trucking industry could net $35 billion in fuel savings, after counting an estimated compliance cost of $7.7 billion.
The historic regulatory effort won some important support within the freight trucking industry early on, since it puts equipment manufacturers and fleet operators on a path to reap the savings through a combination of off-the-shelf technologies and standards that toughen over time.
Some truckers at public hearings expressed concern that it could raise initial equipment costs, but the administration and some private industry officials said the fuel savings would quickly offset additional compliance expenses.
The rules for the truck and bus industries also follow a major new accord between the administration and passenger vehicle manufacturers to aim for average fleet efficiency of 54.5 mpg in 2025, about double current levels.
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